Cost and Promise: reflection

Matthew 16:21–27 21 From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. 22 Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” 23 He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” Continue reading

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Cost and Promise: discipleship

27 For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct. 28 Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

One’s Motivation. The opening word “for” connects the judgment scene of v.27 with all the text regarding the disciple’s steadfastness and commitment to follow Jesus: it is worth remaining faithful even to the loss of earthly life because there is an ultimate judgment to come, and on the outcome of that judgment the enjoyment of true life will depend. Continue reading

Cost and Promise: denial

The Scene Changes. “Then Jesus said to his disciples” With these words the scene moves from the personal debate with Peter to a general pronouncement about discipleship, the first part of it echoing what Jesus has already said to his disciples in 10:38–39: “whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” The disciples first reaction was not the softened “self-denial” or “take up one’s burden.” They understood the cross as the sign of Roman torture and death: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” (16:24) Continue reading

Cost and Promise: suffering

The Suffering Messiah. “You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do” (v.23) neatly summarizes the nature of the problem. The way the disciples react to the idea of messianic suffering and “defeat” shows that this concept of Messiah is going to be very hard to get across. Here, as elsewhere, the mention of resurrection on the third day gets lost. It is apparently so overshadowed by the suffering and death which precedes it that resurrection seems to pass unnoticed. Continue reading

Cost and Promise: context

Matthew 16:21–27 21 From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. 22 Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” 23 He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? 27 For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct. 28 Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” Continue reading

On the way: the Word

he_qi_road_to_emmausLuke sets the scene with markers of time (that very day), place (on the road between Jerusalem and Emmaus) and situation – two disciples who earlier had been with the disciples, heard the women’s testimony and apparently discounted their testimony has idle wistfulness. The community of believers has been fractured.

Unable to see. Elsewhere in the Gospel according to Luke “eyes” and “sight” have been correlated with comprehension, faith and salvation (cf. 1:78-79; 2:30; 6:39-42; 10:23; 11:34; 18:35-42; 10:42). For most the gospel referred to as the “Journey to Jerusalem” (9:51 – 18:14) the disciples have witnesses Jesus’ teaching, mighty deeds, and revelation of his heavenly Father. But in the earliest hours of the new world order after the Resurrection, the two disciples do not recognize Jesus. Their eyes are “prevented” from seeing, an expression for spiritual blindness. It ironic that the two travelers consider themselves the truly knowledgeable ones who are shocked that this fellow traveler has no idea of the very public events of the last three days. While they understand the details of the events from a human perspective, they are truly unaware of those event’s meaning. Continue reading

Emmaus: on the way

he_qi_road_to_emmausCommentary. Luke sets the scene with markers of time (that very day), place (on the road between Jerusalem and Emmaus) and situation – two disciples who earlier had been with the disciples, heard the women’s testimony and apparently discounted their testimony has idle wistfulness. The community of believers has been fractured.

Unable to see. Elsewhere in the Gospel according to Luke “eyes” and “sight” have been correlated with comprehension, faith and salvation (cf. 1:78-79; 2:30; 6:39-42; 10:23; 11:34; 18:35-42; 10:42). For most the gospel referred to as the “Journey to Jerusalem” (9:51 – 18:14) the disciples have witnesses Jesus’ teaching, mighty deeds, and revelation of his heavenly Father. But in the earliest hours of the new world order after the Resurrection, the two disciples do not recognize Jesus. Their eyes are “prevented” from seeing, an expression for spiritual blindness. It ironic that the two travelers consider themselves the truly knowledgeable ones who are shocked that this fellow traveler has no idea of the very public events of the last three days. While they understand the details of the events from a human perspective, they are truly unaware of those event’s meaning. Continue reading